In this study a linguistic investigation of the traditional colour terms of Northern Sotho was carried out. The research comprised three separate phases. In all three phases two aspects were emphasised, namely, the nature of the concept underlying each colour term and the nature and extent to which the selection requirements of the term affected the antecedent. In the first phase, the definitions of selected colour terms, as given in three standard Northern Sotho dictionaries, were studied and compared. These dictionaries included: Pukuntšu, The New Sesotho Dictionary and the Groot Noord-Sotho Woordeboek. Special reference was made to (a) the description of colour as given in the definition, and (b) the selection requirements with regard to the antecedent. The concept “colour term” itself is problematic as the definitions of these terms encompass more than mere references to colour. When comparing the definitions of these terms in Northern Sotho dictionaries, however, little unanimity could be found regarding: (a) the the concept underlying the colour terms, and (b) the selection requirements of these terms in respect of the antecedent. In phase two, six mother-tongue speakers of Northern Sotho were interviewed. The descriptions of the colour terms provided by these respondents were then analysed in the same manner as that of the dictionaries. The informants were all professional people with notable linguistic ability and knowledge of livestock. An Electronic Data Base (compiled by the Department of African Languages, University of Pretoria) was consulted in the third phase of study. The objective of this phase was to collect data on the frequency of use of these colour terms and in light of this to make deductions on their selection requirements. Finally, a synthesis was made of the information collected during the three phases. As indicated above, this is a practical study falling within the ambit of the science of language-usage. At most it can be claimed that the conceptualisation of colour and the manner in which it is reflected in language, has a psycho-linguistic basis. As a result of the nature of the study, it could not always be carried out within a strict theoretical framework.
Dissertation (M A (African Languages))--University of Pretoria, 2005.